Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) - Expert Says Recent Reports Have No Clinical Merit

The claim that “repetitive head trauma experienced in collision sports” can lead to ALS ( Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is not legitimate, reports a recent editorial in the peer-reviewed medical journal “Muscle and Nerve.” Numerous experts in motor neuron diseases contest the claim after a 12-patient study suggests the claim to be without clinical merit.

The editorial mentions two media pieces in the New York Times and Time magazine as without any scientific validation. The media reports respectively were “Brain trauma Can Mimic Lou Gehrig’s Disease” and ” Maybe Lou Gehrig Didn’t Die of Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

“Media coverage generated by the McKee et al. study has caused much concern for our ALS patients who now believe they may be misdiagnosed,” said Dr. Stanley H. Appel, Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, and one of the foremost experts on Lou Gehrig’s disease. “We want to make it clear to physicians and their ALS patients that reports of Lou Gehrig succumbing to anything but the disease which bears his name are inaccurate.”

ALS is a neurological disease that destroys nerve cells in the nervous system and brain. These nerve cells control the operation of voluntary muscle groups and when they do not function neither do the muscle groups, resulting in massive muscle deterioration leaving the sufferer immobile, eventually resulting in a slow, often painful death. Between 20,000 and 30,000 Americans suffer from ALS with approximately 5,000 new cases arising every year.

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